My experience with Rick Steves' choice of hotels has been very good but
they ain't 5 star.
Read the descriptions because he's pretty honest. Personally I like the
hotels on Rue Cler because the street is so wonderful.
As for tickets I have found that most sites don't list all the airlines
so I spend some time and hit a bunch of sites and then call the airlines direct
.....but that's time consuming and you have to be into the game.
Otherwise I'd check the Sunday paper travel section. Good luck