There are two five-star hotels in Bern, the Bellevue Palace and the Schweizerhof, and they are priced accordingly, starting at around CHF 350 for a double room. The starchy, turn-of-the-century Palace is a very near the Parliament House and is the first choice for high government officials and diplomats. The Schweizerhof has been criticized by some subscribers for its noisy location directly across the street from the rail station.

In our view, however, there are better choices from the standpoint of both value and charm. Two standouts are the Innere Enge, which, though slightly away from the center, equals the two five-stars in comfort and charm at about 60% of the cost; and the tiny, elegant Belle Epoque in the area of Bern's most interesting shops.

All hotels reviewed here have special weekend rates.

Restaurants are another Bern strong point. For those who must dine in opulence, both the Bellevue Grill and the Schultheissenstube in the Hotel Schweizerhof will be pleased to relieve you of around $75 and up per person, not including beverages. For fondue and raclette, locals recommend Le Mazot on Bärenplatz, though they remind us that only Japanese and American tourists order them in summer.

For middle of the road dining, try the restaurant at Hotel Innere Enge which serves daily specials for less than CHF 35 or one of the restaurants reviewed in the links below.