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Ylva is bringing a new operator to Helsinki’s hotel market — Norwegian Citybox will open at Lyyra


Ylva and Citybox are opening the first Citybox hotel in Finland at Lyyra in Hakaniemi during the year 2023. The hotel has 178 rooms and will be located in one of the most sustainable hotel buildings in Finland.

Lyyra, currently being built in Hakaniemi, is a brand-new building project composed of an office block, an apartment building and a hotel. Upon completion, Lyyra will bring numerous new services to the area, including cafés and restaurants along a pedestrian street full of outdoor seating. Citybox will provide functional and affordable high-quality accommodation to those visiting Helsinki.

“I’m very pleased to be able to welcome Citybox to Helsinki. The Citybox concept and the Kallio neighbourhood are a true match, so both parties are eager to see the hotel open. It’s also great to see that operators in the hospitality business are able to look into the future, despite the challenging market situation”, describes Ylva’s Real Estate Director Ville Vaarala.

The new hotel will be constructed in the corner of Porthaninkatu and Siltasaarenkatu. Highly influenced by Scandinavian design, Citybox provides innovative solutions for services that are based on digital user experience, efficient room layouts and fuss-free service, without compromising on quality or customer experience.

“We are excited to have partnered up with Ylva for our first hotel in Finland. Lyyra provides everything we are looking for in a new project: a vibrant location and an exciting building together with an owner who shares our vision for the future in terms of sustainability”, says Citybox Chairman Martin Smith-Sivertsen.

“Bringing Citybox to Helsinki is an important next step in the expansion of our brand. We are certain that there is a market in Helsinki for our concept, which provides modern travellers with quality accommodation at a low price”, states Smith-Sivertsen.


Citybox currently has four hotels in the Nordic region, located in Oslo, Bergen and the most recent one in Tallinn. The newest hotel opened this August as one of the first occupants of the brand-new Porto-Franco centre located right by Tallinn Harbour, near the ferry terminal towards Helsinki.


The most sustainable hotel building in Finland 

In Lyyra, sustainability comes first in everything, building process included. Thus, one of the main objectives of this project is to construct Finland’s most sustainable hotel building. Ylva is in the process of applying for the international LEED Platinum certificate for the building, which is globally recognised as the highest symbol of sustainability, achievements and leadership. All parts of Lyyra, including Citybox’s premises, are applying for the highest energy class (Energy Class A) regulated by the Finnish Ministry of the environment.


Citybox prides itself on being a modern and innovative hotel chain working on smart ways to reduce its carbon footprint without taking away from the guests’ experience. As a part of this mission, Citybox is in the process of getting Green Key-certification – an “award which is the leading standard for excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry”.


The hotel’s interior will have a strong focus on sustainable materials, with emphasis on longevity and functionality. One of the chain’s most identifying features is its use of Bolon flooring throughout its hotels. The flooring is made of woven vinyl, designed and manufactured in Sweden. Recycled materials are used in 100% of the collections, and their maintenance is chemical-free. It is also recommended by the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association.


Further information:

Ville Vaarala, Real Estate Director, +358 40 569 0699,

Martin Smith-Sivertsen, Chairman, +47 977 65 045,

Ylva’s business operations focus on the real estate and restaurant sectors. Ylva is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. The history of the organisation goes back more than 150 years and its business operations are long term. For Ylva, profitability means sustainable decisions that will keep us integrated with the city and society for the next 150 years as well. Our unique background requires us to be forerunners in openness and responsibility as well as to commit to developing the city of Helsinki.

Citybox is a Norway-based hotel chain established in 2006, currently consisting of four hotels located in Oslo, Bergen, and Tallinn. The hotels feature contemporary Nordic design, focusing on functionality and durability. Small in size, but big in ambition. Citybox aspires to become one of Europe’s leading high-quality, low-budget hotel chains. With speedy check-in, affordable prices, and modern rooms, Citybox provides guests with simple yet innovative solutions.