Based on the theme of an African safari, the Reserve scarcely resembles any building one might see in Africa. Instead, it looks more like a mixture of the Pueblo Revival style, with its softly contoured buttresses and end towers, and a faintly German or Dutch expressionist style of the early twentieth century, seen in the flamelike forms atop the towers. Its design, inspired by a sense of drama and fantasy, is one of the more unusual among casinos in the Las Vegas area. The exterior walls are a dark reddish-brown color to suggest that the building was constructed of stone from the surrounding mountains. The walls display large applied arches, which frame murals of the sun setting on an African savanna, complete with silhouettes of elephants, giraffes, and other African wildlife. Towers at the building's northwest corner and at both ends of the hotel section terminate in large golden flaming urns. Perched atop slender attached columns ending below the level of the urns are golden monkeys holding torches. The casino's giant sign continues the safari theme with supports made to look like enormous elephant tusks. Both the sign and the building itself are oriented toward the intersection of I-515 and Lake Mead Drive in order to take advantage of traffic on these roads.
The entrance to the casino is covered by a large porte-cochere made to resemble a large canvas awning. The interior re-creates a jungle, with tall fake trees and carved wood statues of wildlife. The ceiling has moving cloud formations, with a “sky” that turns from day to night, opening up the interior space in a manner similar to that of the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and of Sunset Station (see next entry). Overall, the Reserve is small by Las Vegas standards; the casino covers 37,000 square feet, and the hotel tower contains only 224 rooms. However, it stands on fifty-three acres of land, allowing its owners the option of future expansion.