Ahead by a nautical mile

Port of call ... Captains Retreat's facade.Port of call … Captains Retreat’s facade.

Sue Wallace discovers a retreat close to the sea with rooms to explore.

After polishing off fish and chips eyed by seagulls on the Williamstown foreshore, it seems fitting to be staying the night at Captains Retreat, which is steeped in maritime history.

The stately two-storey weatherboard was built as a single four-room cottage in 1862, then extended in 1880 for tugboat captain James Dean and his family. The beautifully refurbished Victorian house has had a chequered past; in former lives it was a brothel, a nunnery, flats and offices. Today, it is a 4½-star bed and breakfast, located one door from the water. Read more