In The Magazine

A Private Paradise

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hilary and Galen Weston know a lot about luxury. The British-Canadian couple have a food and bakery fortune measured in the billions, own department stores from Holt Renfrew to Selfridge’s and, through their family foundation, have given away hundreds of millions of dollars. They also created Windsor on a barrier island between Orlando and Palm Beach. In 1989, they hired Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to turn a plot of Florida land into an innovative community-by-the sea for others like themselves. It isn’t for (or open to) everyone, but it’s a second-home heaven for a select few.

A world apart, easily reached

Elite Airways flies direct from Newark to Vero Beach, the town nearest to Windsor. A short drive brings residents to its gates, and a world of civility and calm. Sited alongside Florida Highway A1A, the private village has a beach club, and its most luxe private homes (including the Westons’) are strung along its ocean side like pearls. On its inland side, Windsor is a community of quaint car-free streets inspired by the New Urbanism movement and lined with Anglo-Caribbean-style residences, an art gallery, elaborate sports facilities, a breathtaking town hall (which doubles as a nondenominational church), a village store, a breakfast and snack bar, and a formal restaurant.

Must-see: The Gallery at Windsor holds the Westons’ collection and has shown Ed Ruscha, Christo, Alex Katz and Christopher Le Brun. 

A kingdom for horse- golf-, tennis- and croquet-lovers

Windsor is paradise for equestrians, with its eighteen stables; fourteen paddocks; jumping, dressage and lunging rings; and a 400-yard polo field. The 425-acre property includes 10.5 miles of trails for riding, bicycling, jogging and walking. There are even ponies for children. Don’t ride? There’s an extensive fitness center, a professional croquet greensward, eight jasmine-trimmed tennis courts designed by Stan Smith, an 18-hole par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course (with no tee times), a putting green, a driving range and an offsite gun club.

The Windsor Water Cure

Windsor’s beach club is reached on foot or by golf cart via a tunnel beneath the highway. It boasts another poolside restaurant, an 82-foot pool, and a raised boardwalk leading to a long stretch of Atlantic beach lined with Windsor-branded chairs. The beach pavilions, inside and outside bars, and private poolside cabanas were designed in the mid-’90s by Naomi Leff and Jacquelin Robertson, and are kept in pristine condition. Never crowded, it’s a cool spot in a warm place.

Windsor denizens are both four-legged and famous

It’s a dog’s life at Windsor, too, where a dedicated dog run has a daily Yappy Hour.  Whose dogs are they?  You never know who you might run into, from residents like the Swarovski, Peterson, and de Vos families, and tennis legend Ivan Lendl, to visitors ranging from senators and Supreme Court justices to basic run-of-the-mill billionaires. 


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