So, how does this work, exactly?

Stop by Papercup Store, the charming, specialized bookshop in vibrant Mar Mikhael, to purchase your own “Shammet Hawa” for $200. The card is valid for one year from the purchase date. Your giftee only needs to email us to book his/her experience.

Quality time, fresh air and beautiful encounters gathered into a single gift

Many of the travelers who enjoyed their guesthouse experience wanted to give their loved ones the chance to do the same, so LHôte Libanais came up with a way to extend and share the experience: “Shammet Hawa” simplifies the process and turns time, fresh air and beautiful encounters into an actual gift you can offer. A single card, a single network; “Shammet Hawa”, gives access to all experiences available with LHôte Libanais and is the perfect gift for loved ones or colleagues at work.

« Shammet Hawa »?

“Shammet Hawa” (or “sham hawa”, the verb) is a phrase a Lebanese child will take note of the very first time he/she visits the mountain family home, enjoys a day at the beach, or leans his/her head against a car window, pines and reeds passing by. It is a concept that literally means “to smell the air” but figuratively implies going for a stroll, a family outing, relaxing outdoors or enjoying downtime at home. Breathing stops being something unconscious and becomes a pleasure, an art: you don’t breathe; you smell the air’s perfume just like you would sip a glass of wine or savour a cool lemonade.

Nathalie Rosa Bucher

Nathalie is a features writer with a passion for the seventh art, a keen interest in culture and mobility, as well as social and environmental subjects. Half French, half German by origin may explain why she is drawn to divided countries and diverse societies: she called Cape Town in South Africa home for over a decade before coming to Beirut in early 2012. She currently works as a freelance journalist and frequently coordinates cultural projects.

Collaborating with Zeina Bassil

The cards were designed by Beirut-based illustrator Zeina Bassil, reflecting rural and urban gems of Lebanon and the Lebanese version of “la dolce vita”, with beautiful interiors, palm trees swaying in the breeze, broom trees colouring hillsides, kites tickling the clouds, and small waves curling themselves around young and old feet collecting shells.

“I spent much of my childhood in a veritable magic garden,” Zeina recalls. “It was next to my family summer house in the mountains above Jounieh and although nobody was allowed inside, I had an understanding with the gardener who allowed me to spend time there, to dream to play, as long as I did not pick any flowers. This was the ultimate shammet hawa – smelling the air, in a literal sense but mostly relaxing. I now associate the term as much with friends as with family.”

Zeina wanted to draw something quintessentially Lebanese and reproduce nature as one would see it from the balcony of a traditional mountain house or out of a window near the coast. Most of all, Zeina wanted to capture the light; the incredibly clear, soothing, and forever-changing light in Lebanon.

This was the ultimate shammet hawa – smelling the air, in a literal sense but mostly relaxing. I now associate the term as much with friends as with family.

Zeina Bassil, Beirut-based illustrator

Nathalie Rosa Bucher

Nathalie is a features writer with a passion for the seventh art, a keen interest in culture and mobility, as well as social and environmental subjects. Half French, half German by origin may explain why she is drawn to divided countries and diverse societies: she called Cape Town in South Africa home for over a decade before coming to Beirut in early 2012. She currently works as a freelance journalist and frequently coordinates cultural projects.