Smile Politely

I tried one of those quiet pods at Soul Care Urban Retreat Center

I have been wanting new inspiration; I am so tired of staring at the same walls of my house, sitting in the same chairs, looking out the same windows. I heard about a place in Urbana where they have quiet pods. I was intrigued as there is little quiet in my life.

The website for Soul Care described the quiet pods as “a quiet space to build relationships with the divine and inner self…and align with your intentions for living life. Everyone is welcome in our safe and inclusive community. “

I wasn’t sure if I was looking to build a relationship with the divine, but I was looking to plan out my fall semester calendar and find new inspiration for articles. The part that hooked me was the quiet part. Somewhere where it would be silent? Sign me up.

I signed up online. You can reserve the quiet pod in one hour increments for $10 an hour. There was also an option to have a foot bath added to a two hour reservation, and for $35, that’s what I did.

When I went for my appointment, I was not exactly sure where to go. My GPS said I’d arrived, but I couldn’t find the Soul Care location or a sign. After several passes,  I just parked in the PNC lot to see if I could walk to find it, and coincidentally, right in front of where I parked my car was a sign reading Soul Care, second floor. Inside, I followed the signs for Soul Care.

On a beige textured wall, there is a square sign reading

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I went inside the PNC bank building, up the stairs, and to the entrance of Soul Care.

In front of the Urbana Retreat Center, there is a carpeted area. The center is inside a room with black pillars and many full length windows. On the glass door, a square in white is etched and the words read

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

When I arrived, the place was breathtakingly calm and quiet.

Inside the retreat center, there is a faux living room. There is a midcentury modern leggy upholstered chair in front of a long oval white coffee table. Along the back wall is a black sectional couch with pillows. Above the couch is a picture ledge of framed art. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The furniture was modern and well curated to be a very cool place to hang out. The woman working the retreat center welcomed me and gave me a tour of the space.

In the corner, there is a long wooden table with a single plastic water bottle on it. Along the right wall, there are stacked yoga mats and workout materials in front of a wood floor. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

It was a generous second floor space. There was an office, a living room area, a space for yoga or workouts, a meeting space with desks and chairs, an outdoor gathering space, and a hallway with six pods.

The outdoor space is seen through a window, showing a large circular coffee table and four large brown outdoor chairs with arms. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Soul Care Urban Retreat Center offers a rental work space, retreat space, chart reading, reiki, and spiritual direction in addition to the six quiet pods available by reservation. It seems to be a customizable experience for individuals or groups. With attention to whatever the customer’s goals for time at the center are, the staff are able to support their clients.

From another view of the faux living room, there is a Gratitude Wall with post-it notes of varying colors with the short end of the black sectional couch in front of it. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

In the quiet pod area, the woman led me to my pod with a foot soak. The foot bath was done in the first pod on the left, the only pod with a reclining chair and no couch. She led me to my chair and pointed to the foot bath. It was in a large ceramic bowl and wonderfully hot. It felt amazing to soak in the extra hot water. She told me that I could add more hot water from the kettle to the soaking bowl if I wanted.

On a small wooden side table, there is a white mug with a tea bag label hanging out, a black hot water kettle, a rolled gray towel, and a ripped open blue tea wrapper. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

She brought me a selection of tea, and I chose the calm one. I sat and enjoyed tea while my feet enjoyed a soak. She also asked me if I wanted her to do some essential oils, and I said yes. Why not? I was there for the whole experience. The fragrances she chose were light and airy, and I didn’t find them overwhelming, just a slight aroma of smells I’ve enjoyed at massage therapy before.

Her final question was if I needed any materials. The retreat center had books, coloring books, cards, journal prompts, music, reflection activities, and more. I had packed my own notebooks and writing, so I declined, but it seems they have thought of everything.

A large cushioned gray couch is in front of a gray wall with a curtain right in front of the couch. The wooden floor has a blue purse on it beside the couch, and there is an end table with notebooks and pens on it. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

After I had soaked my feet (and refilled the water several times with pours of very hot water), I moved to a second quiet pod for the remainder of my reserved time. The quiet pod was different than what my expectation of a pod might be: a futuristic, closed door pod. These pods lived in a hallway with three nooks on either side, minimally and nicely decorated with a couch, a side table, and a sconce lamp.

There was a curtain for each pod that could be pulled across to shut out the light and views of other pods, so I closed the curtain. If you are claustrophobic, you may not enjoy this, but I found it cozy.

On a small end table, there is a stack of colorful notebooks, a disarray of four pens, and a white mug of tea. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

My pod was certainly cosy. The couches were beautiful, clean, and comfy to sit on. The table was small, but I didn’t need much space, and the table itself was easy to move around. There was a soft blanket that I didn’t use, but it looked snuggly. The staff checked on me after one hour and refilled my tea. It was so nice.

On a cushioned pair of white benches, some paper bags sit upright. Under the benches, there are many stacks of books. The windows out to the rest of the building are etched in a stripe about eye level. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Overall, Soul Care was a lovely retreat. During my time there, I was able to think of new ideas, plan out my calendar, and reflect on what was important to me. It really was the epitome of cosy. If you’re needing a quiet spot to think, reflect, or write, Soul Care in Urbana might be worth a visit.

Soul Care Urban Retreat Center
507 S Broadway Ave
Second Floor
T-Fr 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sa+Su 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor

Related Articles