Feb. 4 2015 12:00 AM
In the 1933 novel “Lost Horizon,” author James Hilton dreamed up Shangri- La, a utopian society populated with a citizenry that doesn’t age. Last fall, a new Lansing business opened that references Hilton’s utopia and provides personal pampering and skin-care services designed to slow the effects of weather and age.

“It’s easy to think of a trip to a day spa as a luxury, but taking good care of your skin should be part of your regular care,” says Tabetha Cross, owner/operator of Shangri-La Spa & Wellness Studio. “If it’s not, and you live long enough, you’re going to wish you had done something sooner. I’m here to start people on that journey.”

Cross opened Shangri-La late last year in a three-floor commercial building next to the Colonial Village Shopping Center on Mt. Hope Avenue. Over the last few months, she’s been working to attract a steady clientele to her tiny studio.

“I only have about 400 square feet, but I’ve done a lot with the space,” Cross says. “That’s what’s unique about Shangri-La — its versatility. It’s designed for you to get in and get out if you’re in a rush, or you can take your sweet time. It’s up to you.”

In addition to deep tissue, hot stone and Swedish massages, Shangri- La offers a full roster of skin care, makeup and waxing services. Cross also offers customized makeup tutorials — she’s a licensed cosmetologist — and will soon begin offering yoga and fitness classes three days a week.

“My main goals in doing this were to stay as affordable and be as attainable as possible,” Cross says. “I spent a long time narrowing down the materials I use to the ones that offer the best results for the least amount of money. You can have a nice spa day here for less than $100.”

Cross uses all-natural, organic materials for her scrubs and chemical peels. She also does full body wraps and airbrush tanning, and has contracted a doctor to do cold laser therapy.

“As I got further into my cosmetology career, I started working with a doctor at a spa who showed me the value of medical skin care treatment,” Cross says. “I had been focusing on the fashion end, but I came to realize that effective skin care can improve someone’s life.”

Cross employs two massage therapists in addition to the doctor. She’s not opposed to moving into a bigger space, but for now, she’s happy keeping busy.

“The universe has been very kind to me,” Cross said. “I feel like this studio found me. It’s still almost surreal that we’re doing it, and have been successful so far. But I think there’s a lot to be said for people who know what they want and how to take care of themselves. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to look older.”

Shangri-La Spa & Wellness Studio 1515 W. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (appointment only) (517) 253-0308, facebook. com/shangrilaspaandwellness