Finding an affordable place to stay for a week in Bern was not easy! In the end, after considering the reviews here on TA, I decided on the Arabelle. I played around for a while on expedia and the hotel website and got the best deal by booking directly with the hotel for the first 3 nights and with expedia for the last 4 nights, ending up paying an average of AU $123 a night. It took a bit of figuring out to get that rate - at first I couldn't get it lower than $156 a night, but I finally found the right combination.
I arrived in Bern and followed the hotel instructions from the train station - it could not have been easier - you simply catch the No 12 tram outside the train station (going right) and its the 3rd stop - the hotel is visible from the corner of Mittlestrasse.
When I checked in I was given a tiny single room, with an even tinier bathroom, and a floor that squeaked and squealed with every footfall: it was a shocker. That first night I could not sleep at all - investigation revealed the reason - missing slats from the base of the bed, meaning that the mattress sagged in the middle. After I brought this to the receptionists attention the next day, I was moved into another room in the 2nd building - it was SO MUCH BETTER; it was 4 times the size and had a double bed with no missing slats, and a bathroom that I could turn around in. and the floor didn't squeak. I was very happy in that room - room 242 (2nd building, 4th floor, room 2). Make sure you get instructions as to where your room is: my first room (132) was on the 3rd floor (4th floor to you americans) and it took some finding the first time around.
Anyway, room 242 had a desk, with a TV (which I promptly unplugged and never used) and a phone, opening windows, an easy chair and coffee table, and two wardrobes. The shower had excellent water pressure and good hot water. Bodywash and handwash are provided in wall mounted units. Towels are not replaced if you hang them on the rack. There is no fridge which was a nuisance, but it was so cold I left things on the windowsill at night to good effect.
The room was serviced each day (one day she opened the door with no announcement and discovered me undressed after a shower: that was a pretty uncool moment = I learned to put the 'do not disturb' sign up whenever I was home.
Breakfast was pretty basic: cereals and yoghurt, a few different types of cheeses (those baby bebels and foil packs of cream cheese, and some sliced cheddar) and meats, and rolls and slice your own bread. There was a coffee machine, and a hot milk machine so you can have hot chocolate which is nice. Also two different juices, and a basket with fresh fruit (apples, oranges, some bananas one day). Certainly enough to get you going of a morning, but not lavish. And the floor in the dining room is a shocker for the squeaking - its really loud and embarrassing.
The reception staff were friendly and helpful.
Location was perfect: I bought a clipper card and caught the tram into town each day - it's not that far a walk but its a long steep hill and I certainly wouldn't attempt it with a case, and couldn't be bothered at the end of the day.
Bern was fantastic - I just loved it. I did 3 day trips (Rheinfelden, Vevey and the vineyards, and the Golden Pass trip to Montreaux and Chateau de Chillon), and spent 3 days wandering around Bern and shopping - there is excellent shopping in Bern and with the AU dollar doing so well and taxes so low there, it really was not that expensive.
Internet: I bought a 30 hour/7 days internet card from swisscom, for 45 franks. unfortunately the wireless access in both my rooms was terrible, so i used the dining room each night to upload my photos etc - it was fine there.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC