What is it exactly that you're looking for in a host? What is your price range? What kind of service do you expect? How much space/transfer do you need? Do you care what kind of bandwidth they use?
If you answer those questions, I think people will be able to give you answers that are more helpful to you. There's no 'best' host. There are hosts that fit certain people better than others. The trick is to find one that suits you best.
I think you had it with "that keeps their clients happy" bit. I've had some damn good hosts, but for one reason or another I ended up leaving all of them so far. In my case, uptime and speed are the two biggest aspects I like to look at. Give me that, and I'm happy. (of course it's nice to get that without putting a nice far hole in my bank account haha)