Our top pick among Bern hotels is about a 30-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from the city center. It offers the city's best combination of hospitality, charm, guestroom comfort and value. At 60% of the price, not only are its rooms equal to or better than Bern's five-star offerings, parking at the Innere Enge is free, representing a further saving for auto travelers.
The 150-year-old building that houses the hotel was restored and converted several years ago by the husband and wife organizers of the Bonn, Germany, jazz festival. And from the gorgeous front door with its jazz trumpet logo in stained glass, to the intimate basement jazz club with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, the Innere Enge is devoted to this unique American art form.
Don't imagine this is some sort of smoky night club with a few shabby rooms to rent upstairs. The hotel is physically and audibly removed from stylish Marian's Jazz Club and nary a decibel registers in the beautifully appointed guestrooms.
Once inside the stained glass front door, visitors are warmly received in the rather spacious reception area by a cozy fireplace and the hotel's top-flight staff. Beyond is the 1890s-style restaurant/bar with high, curving windows which overlook the city below. On clear days, the Alps, including the Jungfrau and Eiger peaks, are visible. Outside to the right is a large, inviting garden terrace.
Public and guest rooms throughout are liberally sprinkled with jazz memorabilia: here a framed original letter from Louis Armstrong, there a Dizzy Gillespie hologram.
Guestrooms have some of the most interesting pieces: Room Number one, the Clark Terry junior suite (trumpeter and teacher of Miles Davis), contains a letter from Louis Armstrong in which he urges the reader to "lose weight the Satchmo way" and maintains a "laxative once a week is very nice."
We most liked the Milt Hinton room, Number 32, with its huge expanse of windows and cathedral ceiling with exposed wood beams. Number 20, the hotel's smallest and least expensive room has a "French bed" (double bed in the U.S.), but nonetheless is very comfortable. All rooms had upgraded furnishings, bed linen and well-lit, in some cases luxurious, bathrooms.
The Jazz Club offers shows nightly except Monday. In addition, there are daytime concerts on weekends.
This is one of our favorite Swiss hotels.
Contact: Innere Enge, Engestrasse 54, CH-3012, tel. +41/31/3096111, fax 3096112.
Daily Rates: Double rooms start at about CHF 225
Rating: Quality 17/20, Value 13/20