"you can be on the ski slopes within an hour," my guide to Montreal informed me. She was referring to the alpine pleasures of the resorts around St Saveur, but the truth is you can snap on some skis right in the heart of this city. For when the snow falls – and does it fall – the locals have only to head for their own Mount Royal Park and its network of cross-country trails.
Visitors who share the Montrealers' love of outdoor pursuits will find a cosy hotel essential in this chilly city. And at the W Montreal they've put a new spin on "warm welcome", with interiors so voluptuous guests are fairly swaddled. The Living Room (reception) sets the tone; cast in bordello red, with sensuous furnishings and the lights turned down low. This invitation to bed is hardly soporific.
If using a letter of the alphabet to name a hotel doesn't give a clue to the trendsetting aspirations of this brand, part of the Starwood empire, the styling of its rooms will. Choose from Cozy, Wonderful, Mega, Fantastic, Wow and Extreme Wow: this isn't just a bed for the night, it's a lifestyle choice.
Guests are goose-featherbedded in these contemporary boudoirs with integrated bathrooms. Flat-screen TVs, iPod stations and internet access are standard, and a few more bucks will buy you separate living areas and park views. All guests get access to the gym, Away Spa and the concierge service, Whatever/Whenever.
The food and drink
The Zeitgeist encourages hotels to see themselves as destination venues. For W this means running one of the hippest clubs in town, Wunderbar, and one of the best restaurants, Otto, which serves dishes inspired by Mediterranean and Asian flavours. Plateau is a soulless bar above reception, while W Café/Bartini puts an alcove to clever use as a café by day and bar by night.
Children and pets welcome. Seven rooms have been specially modified for guests with disabilities. Wheelchair access. Facilities for visually and hearing impaired guests.
BA Holidays (0870 243 3406; ba.com) offers a seven-night fly-drive to Montreal from £519 per person in March, including return flights and car hire, with accommodation at the W Montreal from £66 per person per night, room only.
W Montreal, 901 Victoria Square, Montreal PQ H2Z 1R1, Canada (0800 325 25252; whotels.com/montreal).