what we do
Urbano Rentals features town homes in the historic center of Merida and nearby country estates for vacation rentals. Our properties have the highest standards of design and comfort. Most of our rentals were designed by and for ourselves. Our first house the 17c L'Ermita de Santa Isabel is in one the oldest barrios of Merida’s colonial era and our newest house the contemporary Meson San Sebastian is just around the corner. In 2001 our first design project upon arriving in Merida from New York was to collaborate with Salvadore Reyes Rios and Josephina Larrain on a home in the Colonial town of Izamal. This home and studio for the owners of the Hacienda San Jose Cholul also serves as an artist in residence retreat & gallery. Next we designed and renovated The Orangerie at Santa Ana in the heart of Merida’s most popular ex-pat neighborhood a master suite was added in 2011.Two properties designed by Reyes-Rios and Larrain were added to our rentals in 2006, the Casa Azul de Santiago and the Hacienda Sac Chich. Josh Ramos designed his home El Portico de la Candelaria in 2007. It is our most luxurious rental. The Casa Santa Lucia was added in 2008. All of our houses are in colonial Merida's historic center. Hacienda Sac Chich is 30 minutes away near Acanceh. We hope that as our guests you will feel more at home than and less like tourists. Through correspondence and our blog we will keep you informed of the best places to tour, shop and dine in the Yucatan…. And just as importantly what pitfalls to avoid along the way.
Josh Ramos and John Powell came to Merida in October 2001 from New York where we had a design firm and shop called Naturemorte. Our Soho store was on Broome Street and featured antiques from France and Mexico mixed with designer home furnishings from the Spain. Josh was a textile designer who specialized in home furnishings. He was raised in San Diego and graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago. He attended the Art Institute Study Abroad program in San Miguel de Allende. Josh has a fine arts degree but his passion is design. John was raised in Texas and studied art and architecture. John worked in art galleries in Houston and New York before moving to Paris. In Paris John worked as a designer for firms like Hermes, Christian Lacroix Couture & Sonia Rykiel. In 1998 John took a year off to study film at New York University. In New York John met Josh and they started making trips throughout Mexico. Both avid collectors of crafts and antiques they soon could not contain their collections and decided to open Naturemorte. On one such trip Josh and John bought the house in L'Ermita. We both hope to one day soon get back to being "real" artists in the meantime it's both rewarding and fun designing and renovating houses.
There was always a plan to come to Merida first and then build a Utopian center in the nearby jungle where we could be creative. At first it was to be a hacienda near Merida, then it was a ranch with a cenote near Valladolid and then it was to be a modern house in a citrus orchard in the Ruta Puuc. They all fell through at the last minute. In the past couple of years we have renovated a dozen or so houses in Merida for friends and family and friends of friends. Here are some of those design projects that are not rentals. Soonwe will begin construction of a rustic retreat for artists at the edge of a village near Motul.
On our blog you’ll find links to restaurants we recommend to our guests and reviews of restaurants we wouldn’t recommend to our worst enimigos. You’ll find links to articles on the Yucatan and other blogs about the area.
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