What are your recommendations on the best areas to stay? Is there a walkable area of town to restaurants, shops, etc??
The downtown area has lots of restaurants (not many shops). I would stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites (downtown) -- there are some fun spots right there. Another option is the new Renaissance, which is closer to the Capitol and the Capital Center (depending on what you are in town for). A couple good places to eat right there, and then only a block or two back to the area near the Hampton Inn.
I agree with Jenny. My wife and I have stayed a couple of times at the Hampton in the days before Uber.
The restaurant attached, dp Bistro is one of the best restaurants in Albany.
It depends what you are looking for. Those are great places downtown. The mall shopping is in the suburbs, as it is in other cities, and if you are mobile you may NOT want to be downtown. Colonie (Wolf Rd., the area near the airport) has Colonie Center, and Guilderland (Western Suburb) has Crossgates Mall. There are many chain hotels in these areas. The Desmond Hotel in Colonie has a colonial theme, and is a nice place to stay and is minutes from Wolf Rd. shopping, restaurants, etc. Staying in the burbs lets you get out of town easier to see things around and about. Enjoy.
So, not sure if you have come and gone already, or what exactly you are looking for, but this just came across my Facebook so I thought I would share. The owner of the loft also owns some of the fun bars in town, including Wolf's Biergarten and the Olde English Pub. If I didn't live 2 miles down the road, I would probably stay there myself!