I am currently using three hosting providers for my sites and those of my friends. The one I found really useful and is hassle free when it comes to installation and updates is NFrance’s webpack 1 – 2Gig package costing at €2.50/month VAT included. I used this for my friend’s website http://www.shalimarorlanes.com and never had a problem. Theme and plugin updates? I can do them automatically – without dowloading, unzipping and uploading the files to the server using ftp.
On my other sites, I did not have the luxury until I upgraded to WordPress 3.0 Which is great! Although, I still need to do some “fixing” to make it run smoothly – They are hosted on 1and1.co.uk which I am happy with (until it is time to upgrade the blogs 😐 )