This caravan is like no other currently on the market. A very long single-axle three-berth, the Amazon Glam Edition, new for 2014, features a BOSE sound system, fully ratchet-adjustable backrest beds and a front-facing kitchen. While twin-bed models have been around for the last few years, the Astella Glam Edition takes this layout theme to the next level, with distinctly separate areas for the kitchen, lounge, bedroom and end shower room – all on a single-axle.
Exact dimensions of 2014 models have yet to be announced but, as a guide, the total length of the 2013 Amazon is 8.03m. Adria’s theme for the Astella Glam Edition is “Camping in Glamorous Style”. We don’t think that description goes far enough. The Glam Edition styling would not look out of place in a yacht moored in the harbour of Monte Carlo or St Tropez. This truly is the luxury yacht of caravans. Welcome to the Glam-a-Van…
The combination of different textures used in the interior styling creates a look of immense character. The walnut-effect woodwork trim accents the leather look perfectly, with the lounge seating clad in leather and the bed bases wrapped in a cream faux-leather, every panel has been meticulously designed to give a feel and look of complete luxury.
With the shower room and beds rear of the axle, the centre and front of the caravan is where the action is. Beautifully designed and finished, the kitchen and lounge area have had a great deal of creative thought put into them and it’s paid off. If you like modern design and finishings this is definitely a contender for a family of three or a couple looking for luxury caravanning. It really does tick all the boxes. We think the Glam styling will attract people who had not previously thought of buying a caravan; this one is for those who aspire either to caravanning yacht-style, or caravanning in the manner of an apartment.
Either way, a luxury look is the keynote. Looking at the grey-shaded Amazon from the outside it is awesomely eye-catching; its gigantic length and sleek lines and decals reflect the quality of the caravan. The panoramic skylight at the front is also a head turner, and its size means that even if you have all of the blinds down for privacy, there is still enough light coming into the Glam through the front roof light alone. The other two roof lights, in the central corridor as you walk down to the shower room, are worthy of comment, too. They are opened by winders similar to those you used to find in car sunroofs; these winding handles are chrome and recessed into the roof.
The shower room is hidden behind a dark wooden door at the rear of the bedroom; open it and you are greeted by a stylish washbasin, standing atop cupboards, with LED lighting set into the fascia above it. The shower is on the nearside. Its stark modern design is combined with refinements you’d expect in a five-star hotel, never mind a touring caravan. It features a long ledge to put shampoo bottles on, a mirror and towel rail. Opposite the shower is the toilet, and although floor space is not huge here, there is plenty of room.
The twin beds are infinitely adjustable at the pillow end with a ratchet system, so that you can sleep at an angle if you wish, or recline during the day. Each bed has a reading light, set into the leather-and-chrome-finished wall. Beautiful. The L-shaped sofa in the lounge turns into a comfortable single bed; you can separate it from the main sleeping area by a concertina blind for privacy.
The Amazon’s locker sizes are huge. There’s space underneath the lounge seating and, of course, beneath the beds. There is also an exterior locker, located on the front offside, big enough to house a few folding chairs or your picnic essentials. The wardrobe arrangements are impressive. There is a small wardrobe just to the left as you enter the kitchen, in the perfect place for hanging up coats. It looks like a simple jacket-length wardrobe with a cupboard beneath it, until you look more closely; then you realise that the shelf that separates the two cupboards can be hinged upwards to create a full-length wardrobe. This is in addition to the near-to-full length wardrobe in the centre of the caravan.
It’s the dining room that most links the Amazon Glam Edition to a luxury yacht, in styling and in type of furniture. The ‘Captain’s Table’, as we called it during our test week, would look more at home in a yacht than a caravan. It has a deep surface, a laminated walnut finish with chrome edging, below which is a white section that gently curves away towards a single, wide, telescopic leg. The table can be lowered, or moved further into the walkway so that you can seat up to six people around it. In this mode the table sits between the L-shaped main seating area and a two-seater sofa opposite, making it perfect for dining, drinking and generally socialising.
A table lamp on an extended arm swings out over the table providing extra illumination. Interestingly, there is also enough floor space for two or three people to enjoy a coffee standing in the kitchen (isn’t that where the party is always at?). Lounging Sit back and relax into the sumptuously comfortable leather sofas; whether you’re nestled into the ‘L’ portion next to the kitchen or the double seater opposite you are guaranteed to be comfy. And lounging is enhanced by the best sound system yet to be fitted to a caravan. It’s a pair of BOSE satellite speakers coupled to a hidden bass unit.
Normally in a caravan, the audio system is fine but not exemplary. But, though the BOSE system is an optional extra and the price is yet to be announced, it is so superb that this we’d say it’s bound to be bought by most Amazon purchasers. And, amazingly, we discovered that even at high volume the Amazon Glam is sufficiently sound-proofed for our music not to be offensive to anyone nearby. Move 10 metres away and hardly a note can be heard.
As you enter the Amazon the kitchen greets you on the left. It is front-facing and fabulously apportioned. The three-burner lengthways hob and sink make up the forward facing section, with more than enough surface space to the right as the kitchen wraps around the offside of the caravan. Below this surface is the oven and grill, and to the right is the fridge, and a hidden microwave.
This Dometic fridge deserves a special mention, although it’s not unique to the Amazon; it has a removable freezer section. Use it as a freezer or remove the base and door for extra space for chilling drinks. Not that there isn’t enough space for drinks as it is; this versatility is another feature that buyers will appreciate about the Amazon.
The kitchen storage is pretty much unrivalled, with three massive drawers for every essential and more, along with another cupboard nearer the door. In many, more confined caravans, cooking has to be a carefully planned exercise. Not in the Amazon, though. Ample surface space is available, there’s a shelf above the hob and sink for glasses and condiments. We heartily wished this had been a live-in test (but we were reviewing the prototype, the first Glam to enter Britain from Slovenia where it’s made, and using the kitchen wasn’t part of the deal); cooking up a feast in the Glam would have been an absolute pleasure.
The LED lighting that’s a feature of the lounge décor continues apace in the kitchen, coupled with a mirror on the wall that borders the wardrobe. The sink has a removable part-cover for a bit of extra surface space. This removable cover also doubles, if turned upside down, as a drinks tray. A small and innovative design touch.
We expected the 2000kg Amazon to test our towing skills, simply because of its eight-metre length and the amount of overhang that you have to calculate on corners. Once we’d got the geometry in our heads, though, the towing task was impressively easy. The Amazon felt well-balanced, with no “bounce”, even on uneven campsite roads. ATC is present to detect, and then correct electronically, any tendency to sway. Nonetheless we have to say most buyers of caravans of this length will prefer the stability of twin-axles; The Amazon is exceptional; by comparison, all caravans of comparable length built in Britain are on twin-axles.