THE HEAT IS ON
New design-centric boutique hotels continue to fuel the cool. The Caliente tropics Resort revives the post-war tiki fetish with giant Polynesian heads by the pool and floral-meets-bamboo rooms. Mojave, a 24-room '40s-themed boutique with French modern furnishings and Nehi sodas in the minibar, recently moved into the area. Hip design firm Kwid, which made the Avalon a Beverly Hills hot spot, just debuted its lively overhaul of Palm Springs' Estrella with a retro-inspired palette and custom furnishings. And Christy Eugenis' newly opened second hotel, Orbit In Hideaway, features vintage-faithful rooms and a vast, pool-centered yard in a rehabbed property that inspired Architectural Digest in 1948 to note, "Its design contemplates a commune-with-nature type of holiday, where a swim and a sun bath are the doctor's prescription."

Throw a couple of generous martinis into the mix, and you have today's Palm Springs potion. A quick walk from the Hideaway, The Deck is a draw at sunset with mountain views, a fire pit, and live jazz. A whole new crop has discovered Rat Pack-era hangouts like Melvyn's, where Sinatra tippled, and The Bamboo Lounge, which overserved Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable.

One look around at the offerings of Palm Springs, and it's clear it caters to a younger crowd these days. One of the newest, and newsiest shops, is Trina Turk's boutique in the Uptown Heritage District on North Palm Canyon Drive. The inspired designer's fashions are a favorite of the Hollywood set and can be seen on shows like Friends and Sex in the City. Also creating buzz, Dazzles debuted as a midcentury modern department store stocking everything from retro jewelry to vintage patio furniture.