Right now I'm between buying a 627 Pro Series and the nifty 686 Plus Pro Series with 5" barrel. Both look to be great guns and either should be nicely heritable for generations to come with proper maintenance. (I have a separate thread here on the comparison between those guns if you want to cash your two cents.) I'm not opposed to getting a separate .38 revolver once my budget recovers from this purchase.
Do you really need special deep cleaning with the .38 in a .357? With my semi-autos, I usually look for cleaner rounds and a jacket to begin with. I imagine I'll be doing the same with the revolver. I also won't be passing nearly as many rounds through it as some of the above posters. I'm an enthusiastic but casual shooter that gets to the range every other weekend or so.
I suppose I'll pick up a few boxes of different .38 and .357 to see how they feel once I make the above choice. In the meantime, please keep these posts coming. Your experienced insights are very helpful.