The only hotel I ever stayed in was the Disneyland Hotel - this was back in about 1980 or 81 though - it has changed a lot since then. Back then there was very little in the rooms to remind you that it was a Disney hotel. It was just like a Hilton or a Sheraton, nice, but noting special, and nothing at all Disney. I was very disjointed. I was expecting Mickey Mouse sheets and a Mickey shaped toilet bowl. (I was only seven years old) Now - there is much more in the hotel to remind you that it is Disney. I guess they were tired of all the disappointed kids.... (and probably adults too)
From my grand kids perspective the Disneyland Hotel wins hands down because of the Disney Decor. While I found the rooms smaller, the Grand Californian is the place to stay. It is more elegant, I can sip a cool one in the grand lobby, and being an "old guy" the walk to the park is much shorter. When our average mileage is 8.8 miles a day, the shorter distance to the parks is critical and the dinning is a plus.
Obviosuly the Grand is the most stunning, though I chose the Disneyland Hotel. Whenever I'm at the resort I always stay at the Disneyland Hotel. Also with the recent remodel the Disneyland Hotel looks great.... Now I didn't mind staying at the PPH one time, though I really hope that it's completely demolished in the near future. It is such an eyesore from DCA and its just not really Disney feeling, the overall quality of the Hotel just feels tacky as well.
Being a DVC member and the Grand Californian is our home resort I absolutly love that resort!