Did you look at the Hilton, the Sheraton, or the Westin? (My favorite is the Westin on Los Robles.)
The most upscale, elegant hotel in the area is the Langham-- a grand old hotel in an extremely quiet, beautiful residential area. Prices can be reasonable depending on date.
The Westin is also my favorite... they have a complimentary shuttle for the downtown area, which is a nice treat.
I realize you post is several months old, but maybe this will help someone. June 2016 we stayed 3 nights at the Polynesian Paradise rental cottage in Pasadena. I had found it on VRBO and it was a really interesting place to stay. Completely decorated with a Hawaiian theme. The guest house was plenty spacious for the 3 of us. Our daughter loved having the loft to herself. The pool and hot tub were absolutely lovely. The neighborhood was was very peaceful and the owners in the main house were available yet unobtrusive. We have family in South Pasadena and it was a perfect place to stay while visiting.