The official Xinhua New Agency said the fire gutted the hotel in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, before dawn Thursday. There were no causalities.
Xinhua said firefighters had trouble dealing with the fire because their fire engines shot water up only 50 meters (165 feet), while the building was 219 meters (720 feet) tall.
New Year fires are common in China, with the Beijing News saying there were more than 160 small ones in the capital alone. The most famous in recent years destroyed a hotel under construction next to state broadcaster CCTV's iconic headquarters in Beijing in 2009.