Ahoy there, history lovers: four storied inns with a seafaring legacy constitute Kennebunkport Captains Collection – timbered homesteads originally built in the 1800s by sea captain Daniel Walker for his children, and now offering luxurious lodgings one block back from the river. Rooms retain their generous original proportions, period features and fireplaces. There’s a laidback bed-and-breakfast set-up, with room to lounge indoors and out. This restful, home-from-home retreat is an idyllic foil to days idled around Kennebunkport’s antique stores and cafés, hiking the coastal trailheads, hopping on a vintage trolley, or sampling craft brews on the local beer trail.
11am; departing guests are welcome to linger in the hotel’s common rooms and grounds. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £156.70 ($198), including tax at 9 per cent.
Rates include breakfast: a continental spread is on offer at each of the houses, with hot dishes cooked to order for all guests at Nathaniel Lord Mansion.
The historic architecture of the hotel’s four homesteads means it’s not ADA-compliant, so sadly cannot accommodate wheelchair users.
There are plans afoot to offer cooked breakfast across each of the houses, but for now, hot dishes are served to all guests from the dining room at Nathaniel Lord Mansion, with a continental spread in each of the homesteads.
At the hotel
Gardens with lounge furniture and fire pits; bicycles, yoga mats and beach chairs to borrow, and free WiFi. In rooms: air-conditioning, smart TV, mini fridge, wine glasses and corkscrew, waffle kimono robes, and Lather bath products.
Our favourite rooms
You won’t need us to tell you which of the houses in the Kennebunkport Captains Collection is most to your taste: whether you favour the flamboyance of James Fairfield, the masculine cosiness of Acton Patterson, the period opulence of Nathaniel Lord Mansion or the soft-hued crispness of William Jefferds is down to personal preference. Premium Kings in Nathaniel Lord Mansion impress with square-footage, lounge space and four-poster beds. Of the Studio Suites in William Jefferds House, room 10 is one of our contenders, with a deep-soak tub and a central gas fireplace dividing bathroom and bedroom. Also at William Jefferds, the River Green King is light-filled and cosy in the eaves. And the William Jefferds Suite has a private entrance and the hotel’s only real fire.
It’ll depend on whether you want to mess about on the river, wheel around town on bikes, hike the trailheads or mooch around Kennebunk, but we’d recommend a light homage to your coastal setting via stripes, cotton knits, Wayfarer shades and deck shoes.
The green expanse by the hotel towards the Kennebunk was once home to houses, which were removed by the original owners to improve the panorama… The lawn may still be there, but development over the decades now obscures the river view.
Extra beds can be added to larger rooms on request and connecting rooms are available: outside of summer, buyouts are a low-season option, with four-bedroom Acton Patterson House particularly suited to families.
Nathaniel Lord’s drawing room is an undeniably handsome spot, but breakfast on the deck is idyllic in summer, and the conservatory-like lounge of green-velvet banquettes and Ghost chairs at William Jefferds House is just as enticing.
Kennebunkport Captains Collection has a home-from-home feel that does away with any need for dress code, especially as it’s breakfast-only.
Dining at Kennebunkport Captains Collection revolves around the first meal of the day only. For breakfast, each house has its own set-up, serving a continental spread of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals and pastries you can help yourselves to. For hot dishes, all guests are invited to head over to Nathaniel Lord, where pancakes, eggs, bacon and other classics are cooked to order – yours to take back to the comfort of your homestead’s lounge or a spot in the garden, or you can linger in Nathaniel Lord’s gold-wallpapered drawing room.
The hotel doesn’t have a liquor licence, but rooms are stocked with a mini fridge, corkscrew and glasses, and Maine & Vine in Kennebunk offers kerbside pick-up for bottles ordered online.
Breakfast is served 8am until 10am.
There’s no room service at Kennebunkport Captains Collection, but tea and sweet treats are set out in the house lounge spaces each afternoon, and there’s little to stop you taking your breakfast back to your room.
In Kennebunkport on Maine’s southern coast, Kennebunkport Captains Collection is in a quiet residential neighbourhood of storied inns and private homes, one block from the river and a five-minute walk from the center of town.
The gateway airport for Maine, Portland International Jetport, is a 40-minute drive north from Kennebunkport Captains Collection; to the south, Boston Logan International is around 90 minutes away by road.
Inter-city Amtrak will take you as far as Boston South Station: from there, you want its regional Downeaster service to Wells Maine, which is around 10 minutes by road from Kennebunkport.
There’s free parking onsite at the hotel (one space for each room), and car hire from Portland or Logan airports, although for pootling around Kennebunkport, you won’t need wheels – a car’s only necessary if you want to explore further afield in Maine.
The hotel has bicycles you can borrow to pedal around town.
Worth getting out of bed for
Kennebunkport Captains Collection has the kit to help you make the most of your Southern Maine sojourn, with helmets and bicycles to borrow: cross the river and head south along the bridle path that follows an old rail bed through wooded countryside edging the Mousam River. Or north of the river, take Ocean Avenue and pedal to Cape Porpoise and dramatic coastal panoramas. The nearest beach is shingle-shored Colony Beach; Kennebunk Beach is sheltered and sandy. A little further away, Parson’s Beach (to the south) and Goose Rocks (north) are picturesque Atlantic-lapped options. At Kennebunkport, you’re in Bush country – not the wild scrubland variety, but the summer home of the presidential family: three miles south of Kennebunkport, if you stroll the scenic peninsula at Walker’s Point, you can glimpse their coastal residence. In town itself, there’s a handful of antique stores worth a browse, including the Old House Parts Company and Antiques on Nine; or unearth the Kennebunks’ past at the Brickstore Museum. If you prefer your adventures to be ale-based, the Maine Brewers Guild has an online tool to help you build your own beer trail. Water-based thrills come in many guises in Kennebunk: for sailing cruises, try the Pineapple Ketch orSchooner Eleanor; Coastal Maine Kayak has kayaks and SUP for hire; for surf lessons, sign up at Aquaholics.
For a special occasion, we love Earth at Hidden Pond: its log-lined walls, wood fire, warmly glowing bulbs and rustic tables create a magical atmosphere in a tucked-away spot behind Goose Rocks Beach, with couldn’t-be-fresher plates featuring produce from the onsite organic gardens or landed-that-day seafood – leave room for sarsaparilla-glazed doughnuts or coffee mousse with chocolate ganache. Classic Kennebunk lunch spot and seafood joint Allison’s has comfort food in all its international guises from pizzas to burgers to full-to-bursting lobster rolls, and is as popular with locals as it is with visitors. Just off the Maine Turnpike in West Kennebunk, the Village Tavern is less pub, more upscale dining spot for plates such as blue-cheese-topped filet mignon, pecan-crusted haddock, and slow-braised lamb shank. It’s hard to pin down the menu at bistro-style 50 Local, but we can confirm that executive chef Tyler Laroche’s farm-to-table fare draws on seasonal ingredients, locally sourced: expect wholesome well-executed plates such as fish and chips, pork chops or coconut-laced chicken curry.
In the Lower Village, in-house-roasted brews and French patisserie await at Mornings in Paris. For Portland-roasted Coffee By Design lattes, plus bagels and freshly baked pastries, head to quaintly timbered Dock Square Coffee.
A wraparound deck with river views makes a scenic spot for house cocktails or draft beers accompanied by buckets of fries, barbecue-pork skewers and steamed mussels at the Boathouse. Brewhouse and distillery Batson River has an outpost just off Dock Square, where you can hole up at a wooden table in this moodily-lit pub and sip on house-made G&Ts or take your pick from the beer taps.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic inn in Kennebunkport and unpacked their Sea Love candles and Roly’s fudge, a full account of their New England break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Kennebunkport Captains Collection in Southern Maine…
Arriving at Kennebunkport Captains Collection, set in a leafy neighborhood not far from the river, it’s clear you’ve landed quite the boutique bargain – a storied stay that’s essentially four hotels rolled into one. Rooms, which vary from whimsical suites to pet-friendly carriage-house studios, are spread across four timbered homesteads dating from the 1800s – the legacy of one of Kennebunkport’s founding seafaring families, the Walkers. Design wise, it would have been all too easy to sail down the nauticalia route, but instead Lark Hotels has brought its expertise in updating historic inns to create polished decor with surprising variety from house to house: white-and-bright freshness at William Jefferds House; colourful, arty flourishes at James Fairfield; and dramatic, refined opulence at Nathaniel Lord Mansion. Four-bedroom Acton Patterson House is an intimate and cosy option for groups. Maine’s coastal charms are found in microcosm in Kennebunkport – a clapboard-cute town set around a picturesque estuary that’s evolved beyond its seafaring origins to offer discerning weekenders a trove of antique shops, one-off stores, indie cafés and waterfront restaurants. Meandering the marshes and walking the coastal trailheads offer an abundance of fresh-air fixes further afield.
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