File this one under Terrible Applications of Corrugated-Metal Architecture: a fake "shanty town" for wealthy tourists who want to glimpse scrap-wood and rickety accommodations without the "nuisances of crime, disease, or poor sanitation," as Gizmodo puts it. The Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa sits near Bloemfontein, South Africa "in the safe environment of a private game reserve." For $82 a night—or, as This is Africa points out, "about half the average monthly salary in South Africa"—interested parties get to sleep in a "shack," use a "long-drop effect toilet," and see electric geysers—oh, and it comes with under-floor heating and Wi-Fi.
The Shanty Town bills itself as "ideal for team building, braais, fancy theme parties and an experience of a lifetime." One Tripadvisor reviewer had the right end of it, though, accurately describing the lives of the millions of impoverished shanty town dwellers and pinpointing why, exactly, the concept is so offensive:
"The 'authentic long-drop toilets' were overflowing raw sewage through the street and though this might put some people off but, hey, we were after an authentic experience! The gun 1am gang battles outside the shack gave us a thrilling half hour, especially when a shot pierced the flimsy tin wall and lodged itself in my shoulder. This bit of the stay was only beaten by an unexpected morning wake-up call at 4am by the authorities accompanied by bulldozers, dodgy paperwork and an armed police escort who were there to demolished the 'shack' to make way for some commercial development. We had only a few minutes to grab our belongings and head for the door! My husband is still trying to shake off the TB infection he caught due to the insanitary and damp conditions and our kids are still blacking out over the psychological trauma and are refusing to leave the house, but at least we have a good story to tell at dinner parties!"
· A Fake Slum for Luxury Tourists Who Don't Want to See Real Poverty [Gizmodo]
· The Shanty Town in Bloemfontein [official site]
· Reviews for Emoya Hotel & Spa [Tripadvisor]